Migraine headaches are debilitating. Intense nausea, dizziness, and head-splitting pain can cause you to lose an entire day. While pharmaceutical drugs can offer relief, they come with side effects. Hence, there are safer ways… So, here I'm offering you the best natural remedies for Migraine headaches.
Natural Remedies for Migraine Headaches
I have categorized the natural solutions for this condition into five categories:
Symptoms of A Migraine
An excruciating headache is the characteristic symptom of a migraine headache. This pain can affect one or both sides of your head. For the most part, migraines are a neurological condition that can last anywhere from hours to days.
- Sensitivity to sound and light
- Tingling in the limbs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent yawning
- Craving for certain foods
- Stiffness in neck and shoulder
- Mood swings and depression
- Seeing auras
Causes of a Migraine
Migraines are predominantly a female disorder. In fact, you may have noticed your headaches relate to your menstrual cycle. When estrogen levels drop and there's more hormonal fluctuation, you are more prone to migraines. Men can get them too, it's just that women get them more often. Some of the most common reasons for a migraine are:
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Strong sound, smell and light
- Pregnancy (more here on headaches during pregnancy and how to prevent them).
- Lack of adequate sleep
- Extreme dieting
- Low blood sugar
- Hereditary triggers
- Food Triggers – To find yours keep a food journal to track your daily meals and snacks for one month. Common are:
- Yeasted bread
- Processed meats
- Aged cheese
- Artificial sweeteners
- Fermented foods
- Deep fried foods
- Sulfites found in dried foods
Lifestyle Solutions for Migraine Headaches
Drink Enough Water
Dehydration is one of the prime causes of migraine headaches. So aim to drink at least 2 liters of water a day to flush out the toxins and prevent dehydration. Also, limit salty foods.
Get Adequate Rest
It's impossible to live a healthy lifestyle without adequate sleep. Therefore, if you want to avoid migraines, you need to be healthy. Aim for at least 8 hours. With this in mind, go to bed by 10 pm, take naps when you can. Knowing how to get a good night of sleep can help you live a better life.
Exercising helps to release hormones like serotonin and endorphins. As you may know, these hormones help you relax and manage pain. For example, walking, strength and resistance exercise, stretching, yoga, can all prevent migraines from recurring.
Lower Your Stress
The pace of modern life is stressful. Therefore, if you're not mindful of reducing stress in your life…watch out, it will creep in. There are many stress management techniques. So, pick something you like and make it a daily habit.
Avoid These Things
Working too long in front of your computer or watching excessive TV will only aggravate your pain if you are already suffering from a migraine headache. Also, avoid loud noise, unpleasant fumes or chemicals.
Home Remedies for Migraine Headaches
A good ice pack is one of the effective and easiest natural remedies for migraine headaches. Maybe because it has a numbing effect, but I was unable to find out the exact reason why it works. Perhaps, because when a migraine is happening… The blood vessels in the head dilate and inflame. So, the ice applies opposite therapy.
Cold therapy is the number one self-care remedy anyone with a migraine goes for first.
Baking soda is a simple detoxifying remedy. (Is there anything baking soda isn't useful for?) Baking soda is packed with anti-inflammatory, as well as relaxant properties. Take a detox bath by adding 1 cup baking soda with a few drops of coconut oil to a hot bath. Soak for 20 minutes.
Also, take 1 tsp of baking soda in water and drink it. In my research, I found a blog post by a man who said the things that worked for others didn't work for him. But baking soda worked. He wrote…
Low levels of Magnesium are common in women with hormonally triggered migraines. Magnesium is a mineral found in lentils, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains. So, try to include these in your daily diet. Also, you can supplement after consulting with your doctor.
B-vitamins help the synthesis of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) like serotonin and dopamine. Researchers have found a deficiency in these chemicals may lead to migraine attacks. I recommend taking a B-complex formula. But be sure to check with your doc or take the recommended dose.
Feverfew belongs to the daisy family. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the recurrence of migraines. Also, it may help in shortening the intensity and duration of the migraine attack in a safe way. Researchers did a 3-month study with 49 people and found that a formula of feverfew, magnesium and vitamin B2 (riboflavin) led to a 50% decrease in their migraines. Ask your doctor to help you find the right dose for you.
Soak 10 almonds in water before you go to bed. In the morning, slip the skins off and eat them. Also, drink the water they were soaked into treat your migraine pain in the early stages.
Ayurvedic Remedies for Migraine Headaches
Ayurveda teaches you Nature’s great principles of health and natural living. If you are new to Ayurveda, start here: What is Ayurveda About?
Migraine headaches fall into the category of Pitta imbalance. In other words, too much heat causes dilation in blood vessels, leading to migraines.
You may notice the onset of symptoms during the Pitta time of day, 10 am – 2 pm or 10 pm – 2 am. During this time, the fire element is the most active in your body, as well as in nature.
Follow a Pitta diet and lifestyle to help reduce the fire element. This will help lower the intensity and frequency of your headaches.
Ayurveda treats the person, not the disease… So get to know yourself, learn what combination of doshas you have in your body and mind.
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that helps to block prostaglandins, that trigger migraine headaches. Sip a cup of warm ginger tea along with lemon juice and honey during a headache. Additionally, try to drink more ginger tea as part of your daily routine for prevention.
Coriander eases the constriction of blood vessels and relaxes the muscles. Thus, it is quite effective to ease pulsating spasms and pain.
Dry roast 1 tsp coriander seeds until they turn slightly brown. Grind into a coarse powder. Boil 1 cup water with this mixture along with a pinch of black pepper. Strain, mix with honey and sip.
Or, dissolve 1 tsp coriander seed powder in 1 cup water. Keep it covered overnight. Drink the mixture on an empty stomach the next morning to prevent a recurrence.
Turmeric eases the inflammation that triggers a headache.
You can also boil 1 tsp turmeric powder in half cup water and mix half cup almond milk to this mixture.
Add honey, if desired, and take before bedtime as a preventive measure.
Or try my recipe for Golden Milk:
Camphor oil is a natural analgesic while mint helps in calming the throbbing. Mix 1 tsp crushed mint with 1 tsp powder camphor. Add this mixture to 2 tsp coconut oil and warm the mixture. Apply to the forehead for instant relief from a headache.
Clarified butter or ghee can be an effective natural remedy for migraine headaches. Just use your fingers to apply about two drops of lukewarm ghee inside the nostrils for about a week. It will help to ease a headache, ease congestion, and prevent nasal bleeding.
Ayurvedic Oil Massage
Give yourself a daily head oil massage. In Ayurveda terms, this is called abhyanga. Doing this daily will improve blood flow to the brain which will reduce the intensity of any throbbing pain.
Essential Oils for Migraine Headaches
Essential oils, prepared from the flowers, leaves or roots of plants are wonderful natural remedies for migraine headaches.
Ways to use essential oils:
- Use a diffuser
- Put a few drops on a cold compress and inhale directly
- Massage into your temples or on either side of your forehead (AFTER diluting it with a carrier oil such as almond oil)
Here are my suggestions:
- Peppermint oil – To relax the muscles, stimulate circulation, and ease pain
- Eucalyptus – Camphor oil: For instant pain relief
- Lavender Oil – To calm your mind, ease stress and promote tranquility and relaxation, and thus pain relief
- Rose Oil – To cool and soothe your nervous system, calm tension, and help you relax
- Basil oil – To ease stress, promote pain relief, and promote relaxation.
Yoga for Migraine Headaches
Yoga has been practiced by countless people for thousands of years. Once you start to practice Yoga, you will begin to enjoy better health, deeper sleep, a sharper mind, and a better outlook on life.
You'll also notice an improvement in your posture, flexibility, vision and general appearance. In other words, you will feel more vibrantly alive and enjoy better health on every level of your life.
Below you will find the best asanas for migraine headaches.
Uttanasana or Standing Forward Fold
Standing forward folds invigorate your nervous system in increasing blood supply to the head. They also calm the mind.
Stand straight with your legs hip distance apart. Inhale and sweep your arms over your head. Keep your spine straight and engage your core. Exhale and fold forward from your hips, pushing them backward and resting the belly on the thighs.
Keep your knees slightly bent. Rest the palms wherever the reach. Don't try to touch the floor or hold your toes, if you're stiff. Just hold the posture and breathe in and out through your nostrils consciously. Once you feel relaxed, take a deep inhale, support your waist using your palms, and straighten your torso vertebra by vertebra.
Bridge pose helps to ease your headache, calms your brain, mind, and reduces stress and anxiety. It's an inversion, so it brings instant pain relief by promoting circulation to the brain.
Lie down on your back, knees bent and separated hip width apart. Plant your feet firmly on the mat and palms resting on either side of your sitting bones.
On an inhale, press the feet and palms into the floor and lift your hips, lower back, and upper back off the floor. Tuck your chin slightly towards your chest. Hold the posture, breathing deeply for 60 seconds. Exhale and slowly release your back to the floor.
Breathing deeply improves circulation, calms your mind, and enables you to relax tense muscles, thus easing your headache.
Come onto your fours, wrists under the shoulders, and knees under your hips. Let the tops of your feet rest flat on the floor.
Inhale, scoop your back, and lift your head and chest up. Exhale and round your back, pulling your navel into the spine and tucking the chin to the chest. Do 15 such rounds very slowly focusing on breathing and the movement of your spine.
I've given you lots of natural remedies for migraine headaches here. It can be helpful to read it over again to digest all the information.
Now it's necessary to take action. This may mean learning to modify your diet to avoid food triggers, or learning how to reduce stress with essential oils, yoga, and meditation. Leave me any questions you have in the comment box below.